When the Unexpected Happens
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8
It was day like any other day of my life. I woke up early, walked my dog, and sipped on a cup of hot coffee as I prayed and read my bible. After eating some breakfast, I quickly showered, dressed and headed off to my office.
My morning commute was significantly less crowded as I arrived much earlier than normal. Although I wondered where all the other cars were that I normally see, I just thought I was getting a jump on everyone else.
When I pulled into the parking lot of my office building, I was happy to find just two other cars, something very unusual as I typically have to park quite a distance from the building. Thankfully, I was able to grab a parking space right up front. BONUS!
As I approached the front office door, I noticed the lights had not been turned on yet. Boy, I thought, someone’s gonna be in trouble! At least that’s what I thought until I reached to open the door only to find it locked.
A small note taped on the office front door announced we were closed due to an offsite company management training meeting. YIKES! I forgot.
Panicked, I quickly rifled through my planner looking for the address and details of the meeting to which I was sure to be tardy. Racing as fast as I could legally drive, I made it to the hotel conference room just in time and as if no one knew of my unexpected adventure.
Now, that’s something unexpected.
I’m sure all of us can think of more than a few times that each of us have been surprised by the unexpected. Sometimes they can be good and sometimes bad.
When a good surprise happens, chances are that most of us probably need no teaching on how to respond. That’s pretty simple. The time when many people fall apart is when the bad surprises happen in our lives. How do you react in that kind of situation?
Here are some steps to take when the bad surprises come your way.
1. Don’t be surprised that a surprise has happened.
Life happens. And everyone has at one time or another experienced surprises. When you remember you haven’t been singled out to experience all of life’s troubles, it makes a bit simpler to navigate through the sometimes difficult steps through the journey.
2. Stop. Breathe. Pray.
When it happens, take the time to simply stop. Often, when people act then think, mistakes are made that may exacerbate the situation. Pray and ask God for guidance. He loves you so much and is not caught blindsided that you’re going through what you are. Talk to Him.
3. Make an assessment of the situation and what options you may have.
Typically, knowing what you’re facing puts you in a position of strength. When the unexpected happens in your life, it’s always a good idea to analyze everything that is going on, figure out what your options may be
to move ahead and then follow up by making a plan of action.
4. Get advice from a family member or close friend who’s been through something similar.
Before making a plan of action, it’s good to have your own life's board of directors. These are people in your lives who have been through successes and failures and who have earned your respect. When the unexpected happens, these are the folks you call on for prayer and advice.
5. Don’t ignore things. Act quickly but without haste.
You’ve probably heard the old adages about the ostrich sticking his head in the sand. Whether they actually do it or not, it’s symbolically become known as the person who ignores what is going on at the time, pretending nothing is happening and hoping things will mysteriously just get better. Guess what; that sort of thing just doesn’t happen! Don’t kid yourself. When the unexpected happens, don’t ignore it. Acknowledge it, address the issues and take action. You’ll fair better in the end.
It is said that experience is the best teacher. When the unexpected happens in your life, always remember. Remember everything about it. In fact, it is probably a good idea to document or journal things. Pray and ask the Lord for guidance, provision and wisdom. When He answers your prayer and helps walk you through this season, write it down and testify. You’ll find yourself on someone else’s board of directors!